You have probably heard the term “cortisol” before. It’s usually used in reference to stress and body fat.
But what is cortisol?
Believe it or not, cortisol is actually good! It helps our body to regulate our stress response, which is something that, evolutionarily speaking, has been crucial for our survival.
Ages ago, cortisol used to be released when we were in a stressful situation, which usually meant being chased by a predator. These days, cortisol can be triggered by any number of everyday events – near misses on the highway, an argument in your relationship, or a tight deadline at work.
When we’re constantly stressed out about things and living in overdrive, our bodies start signalling chronic stress. This results in a steady release of cortisol over time. Our bodies aren’t designed to exist like this in the long-term, so eventually it gets exhausted, gives up, and stops producing all that cortisol. This is what we erroneously refer to as “adrenal fatigue”.
Resulting in symptoms of:
Mild depression or anxiety.
Multiple food and or inhalant allergies.
Lethargy and lack of energy.
Increased effort to perform daily tasks.
Decreased ability to handle stress.
Dry and thin skin.
Low blood sugar.
Low body temperature.
It also can lead to issues of sex drive, menstrual irregularities, estrogen dominance, and even fertility issues. Clearly we need to get these hormones back in balance!
Here are four tips to help reduce cortisol levels:
Reduce stress. If the cause of too much cortisol is stress, the obvious solution is to reduce stress. Start by taking things off your plate and get clear on your priorities.
Self-care. Taking time for yourself is not selfish – it’s essential to healthy living. Taking a break from electronics and work to focus on what brings you joy can make a world of difference.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet. What you fuel your body with changes everything – including balancing hormones. Eating a nutrient-dense diet that’s free of chemicals and preservatives will work wonders for your overall health.
Engage in healthy outlets. Channelling your energy into yoga, tai chi, meditation, or exercise can be extremely beneficial in helping to lower cortisol.
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